Letters to the editor: Nov. 3

University Bible Fellowship accusations unfounded

Editor’s note: On June 9, the Martlet published a story titled “Student club connected to an organization accused of cult-like activities.” This report outlines the connections between the University Bible Fellowship — a UVic student club — and the worldwide organization of the same name, the latter of which has been accused of activities characterized by former members as “cult-like.” Victoria UBF pastor Joshua Park was unavailable for comment at the time, but has since contacted the Martlet to say the accusations against UBF are false. He has agreed to publication of the following letter.

Dear Mr. Sauer,

Yesterday [Oct. 25], you told me that the cult-like concerns with UBF ministry are due to two issues (arranged marriage and isolation of members from friends and family) as Cormac, the Martlet reporter, wrote in his article. I’d like to explain about these issues.

1) Arranged marriage

The statement in the June 9 article (“Student club connected to an organization accused of cult-like activities), “ . . . being pressured into romantic relationships with other members” may be an experience or feeling of a particular person who wrote it. I have been in the UBF for over 20 years, but I’ve never heard any UBF member who said he/she was pressured to love another member, and I’ve never seen or known such practices in UBF.

If you have a good male friend and female friend, you may think that they can be a beautiful couple. So you can introduce them, saying “I know that you both look good. You can be a beautiful couple.” If they want and agree, they can accept your introduction. If they don’t want and disagree, they will say, “No. Thanks.” The UBF churches are doing the same. Pastors observe their church members for quite a long period. There are some young men and women who are mature spiritually and ready to get married. Pastors can introduce young men and women. If they accept each other, they can get married. If they don’t want, they say, “No. Thanks.” That’s all. This kind of introduction and courtship is practiced in UBF, and in many churches, communities, and societies all over the world. As I know of, no couple in UBF married against their own will. Do you think that this is duly called an arranged marriage? Is it a cult-like practice?

Brian Karcher, who said he was married through the UBF’s arranged marriage in his interview, stayed in UBF for 20 years. I have a few questions about his claim:

When his pastor introduced a woman, why did he accept her? Why didn’t he say to his pastor, “No. Thanks. This is cult-like”?

Why did he stay in UBF for 20 years? As you know, he is a smart and intellectual IT specialist who authored four books. If he really thought that UBF is cult-like, he should have left the church earlier. In fact, I heard that he often said that he has been happily married to his wife.

2) Isolation of members from friends and family

UBF practices discipleship according to Jesus’ teachings in the Bible as many other conservative churches do. Some members may feel that teachings and practices for a God-centered devotion pull them off from friends and family. But putting priority to God and His kingdom is a norm for a Christian and it requires certain adjustments in social and family life. I haven’t seen any practice in UBF ministry that pushes its members to alienate from their friends and family against their own will.

If a church tries to separate you from your friends and family, what will you do? Will you just keep quiet and stay for over 20 years as Brian Karcher claimed? Everybody knows that it is just an artificial accusation.

Please consider my explanations and clarify these false allegations.

Joshua Park

Victoria UBF pastor

Child care concerns are not being dismissed

Dear Editor,

Child care services are an important service for students, faculty and staff at UVic. The Martlet is doing a disservice to its readers and the issue by failing to provide accurate information about it in its editorial of Oct. 20.

You describe President Cassels as being dismissive of the topic. Here’s what President Cassels covered in response to two questions from audience members at his Oct. 5 Campus Update for faculty and staff:

  • The university is investing more than $2-million towards modernizing child care facilities.
  • The university subsidizes child care operations by approximately $500 000 a year.
  • By optimizing available resources to make significant improvements in child care, the university is able to add 50 000 hours a year to full-time child care.
  • The university has also dedicated significant new investments to student mental health, counselling, and health services.
  • There will continue to be opportunities for consultations with community members to discuss UVic’s child-care strategy and the concerns about after-school care.

There was no “smirk” about Edge language at the Campus Update, nor were concerns about after-school care “dismissed.” Interested readers can decide for themselves by watching the video recording of the session at uvic.ca/campusupdates. The president also referred to the planning and consultations still underway.

Denise Helm

Manager of Media Relations and Public Affairs

University Communications & Marketing

SUB businesses should be supported

Contrary to what was written in your article (“Cost of pizza gets a rise out of students,” Oct. 6) there is a choice for pizza: Bean There, located in the Student Union Building.

  • Pizza slice: $3.95
  • Combo with soft drink: $5.25
  • Open Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It would be nice for you to support the SUB.

Nicole DiGiorgio

Chef de Parti at Bean There

Hybrid health care system a longshot

Re: “Restrictions on private health care in Canada are unconstitutional,” Oct. 20

Hey, good luck with this one, Josh. I pretty well gave up after the Romanow Report [Ed. The Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada]. It’s also bad for business, unless you are in the bureaucratic regulation education business. Check with the profs in the department there.

Graham Giles

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